800 GBP ($1000 USD) postage included

A well used equinoctial compass sundial by J. & W. Watkins c.1790


4 x 4 x 1 inch ( 10 x 10 x 2.5 cm.)




J. & W. Watkins

Country of manufacture

UK and Ireland

Categories: Navigational instruments, Calculating, Portable Sundials, Engineering antiques, Office Antiques


A well used equinoctial compass/sundial signed J & W Watkins, Charing Crofs, LONDON c.1790.

Can be dated to within 15 years (1784-1798), this 2 1/2 inch silvered compass having 8 cardinal points and 4 quadrants divided into 0-90 degrees surmounted by a blued steel needle (still points North) is the best part of the instrument. Having a hinged 3 1/2 inch plate (silvered on the back side) for the folding gnomen of the sundial with wheat ear decorative braces and a hour ring engine divided from IIII-XII and I-VIII, everything is tight and intact except for the latitude arc (now missing). Lacquer and silvering missing from the upper surface by the underside is 99% intact and highly engraved for the latitudes of all of the major capitals of Europe and America.  A well proportioned and functional instrument in it’s original sharkskin case with hinge and one eared C-hook intact. The inner lid at one time, was green silk lined but has worn away to expose an 18th century part musical score that was used as filler for the case ( a little research for the new owner).

Jeremiah and Walter Watkins were brothers, nephews to Francis Watkins (succeeded him in 1784) and were instrument makers to the Duchess/Dukes of York and Clarence. Jeremiah continued alone for 2 decades and then partnered with Hill in 1819. Their address was 5 Charing Crofs (Cross), London. 

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CA ScientificaOpticae

Scientifica Opticae

Mark Hacking (Scientifica Opticae Inc.) has been an avid collector/dealer for over 30 years. A former Science teacher, he has an innate love for anything natural or mechanical. Specializing in optical (microscopes, telescopes), surveying, medical, weighing and drawing instruments, he is an active participant of the Scientific Instrument Fair in London. Living in Stratford, Ontario, Canada, with his wife and two children; Mark looks forward to meeting as many fellow collectors as possible, and has a worldwide following on eBay (Sciopti).

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